The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Social Media Practitioners – Seeing Your Way Through ‘The Cloud’

It’s clearly with respect to Steven Covey’s framework for managing one’s career – The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People that is the focus of this post. You might recall the four quadrants, notably, Covey’s observation that many of us spend too much time with “busy work” and not enough time practicing principle #2 – “beginning with the end in mind”. So here goes:

1. Let’s start with what really matters the most: get out of the Social Media cloud. Online customer conversations about your brand, viral marketing campaigns, and digital media are simply technologies and processes that enable customer to company relationships. This new medium of the Internet adds tremendous complexity to the existing brand ecosystem and requires an informed approach, not rose colored glasses.

2. Understand whether or not your brand or your company should undertake a business strategy that includes the digital medium as a key element of its operations. Bear in mind, for instance, that digital ad spend is a very small slice of a very large pie dominated by broadcast television and other conventional media platforms that work very effectively in building brand awareness and influencing customer behaviour.

3. Take stock of what the company is currently doing about the way in which customer relationships are managed. Begin by understanding whether or not you operate in a B2B, B2C environment and the extent to which your brand and customers are right for a new initiative. For example, if your company sells industrial transformers vs. shampoo how ‘close to the customer’ do you get now?

4. Consider the culture – is your company already ‘customer-centric’? Does the company’s leadership openly discuss the importance of customer relationships? Does the company capture, use and share customer information across the enterprise to make improvements? If not, you’re going to be starting from ground zero, with a low likelihood of any measureable success.

5. Benchmark with other companies that have decided to leverage online customer conversations – what worked, what did not and why? Stay away from self-styled consultants and “social media” experts. The online environment is too nascent for anyone to be a legitimate expert – technologies and applications are in such a state of flux, major changes can take place, in a very short period of time relegating new tools to the trash bin of technological rust buckets.

6.  Understand how much, if anything, is being said about your company or brand. Set up some online conversation monitoring and test out the extent of and quality of online conversation at a basic level, over 3 months. Try a 3-4 monitoring vendors and see if they come up with comparable results based on the same research objectives. Moreover, make sure they have the right capabilities such as separating real conversations from spam, shills, hate groups and imposters (14 year old posting about $60,000 BMWs).

7. Timing is everything. Is your company, winning or losing market share? Does your company have a winning value proposition? Are current product offerings outdated, service delivery faltering and value delivery weak? If so, the ‘wisdom of mobs’ might take your company down an accelerated slippery slope and discourage the organization from re-inventing and undertaking transformational change.

As you can see, these 7 habits are not really about diving into the deep end of the “Social Media” pool. On the contrary, this is really about not getting caught up in the current “cycle of hype” and taking a clear, rational and informed approach to customer relationship management in a digital world. The notion of engaging in customer conversations is as old as the days when commerce was conducted in the village square, so listen and learn, then get into action. – Ted Morris ©4ScreensMedia

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